February 13th, 2013 by Admin
With Marmite hitting our shelves on 20th March I got thinking about food glorious food! SIFT’s all about waste minimisation so today’s topic is food wastage and how to reduce it. We’re all probably guilty of throwing food out so let’s look at some tips on how to reduce food waste including some info on Canterbury food banks where you can donate your extra food.
Throwing out your food? Think again...
Here are some tips to reduce your food waste:
- Understand what types of foods you are wasting. Recognising these items will alert you come shopping day to consider if you’ve brought too much
- Before you go shopping have a look in the cupboards and fridge and see what you have. Next make a list and stick to it when you’re in the supermarket. If you’re super organised write a meal plan for the week ahead so you know exactly what ingredients you need to buy
- Move your older foods to a prominent place so they are used first
- Think about what food can be frozen. That way perishable items can be saved for when they are required, not needlessly cooked up and thrown out as too much was prepared
- Serve people what they will eat – try not to prepare too much
- Take your leftovers for lunch the next day or think about how you can add to your next main meal
- Fruit that has gone soft can be made into smoothies or used in baking plus vegies can be added to soup.
- Donate your extra food to food banks. In Christchurch you can contact The Christchurch City Mission and The Salvation Army.
Remember buying less food or only the items you need for that weeks meals will save you money! Now that’s great motivation to have a think about how to shop wiser.
Image from: http://www.google.co.nz/imgres?imgurl=http://www.wellhome.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/food-waste.jpg&imgrefurl
February 8th, 2013 by Admin
Time for a competition!
Agrecovery are holding the ‘Rinse Return Rewards$’ competition through February and March offering you the chance to win one of ten $500 vouchers to spend with a rural supplier. Prizes will be drawn on 26 April 2013. So get in quick and recycle!
All you have to do is recycle your eligible plastic containers with Agrecovery at one of their 70 collection sites nationwide. Containers must be triple rinsed, be 60 litres or under and must still have their original label on.
Check out the Canterbury collection sites here.
Every collection receipt issued at an Agrecovery collection site during February and March enters you into the draw.
Agrecovery’s recycling programme offers a safe way to dispose of your plastic agrichemical, biological, animal health and dairy hygiene containers.
Here are the eligible brands of containers you can recycle free through Agrecovery and will enter you into the draw to win:
Agrecovery competition eligible brands
So recycle your farm containers and be in the draw. Good luck!
Image from: http://www.agrecovery.co.nz/containers/agrecovery-brand-owners/
January 30th, 2013 by Admin
Continuing on from my blog last week on Resene’s PaintWise recycling scheme, this week let’s look at eco friendly paints.
Firstly here are the main alternatives to conventional paints with the safest option first:
- Milk paint: A mixture of casein, a protein found in milk and earth pigments, milk paint has a smooth matt finish suitable for interior walls and furnishings.
- Lime wash: Made from lime and natural pigments, lime wash gives walls, both internal and external, a weathered look.
- Natural/organic paints: These are usually made from vegetable and mineral extracts bound with natural oils or resins. Some natural paints still contain conventional pigments such as titanium oxide and natural solvents that can be low-level irritants.
- Voc-free paints: These have the same make-up as conventional paints but exclude VOCs.
- Low-voc paints: These are made from petrochemicals with reduced levels of VOCs.
What are volatile organic compounds (VOC)? Well they are gases emitted by various solids or liquids, many of which can have adverse health effects. Paints that are low in VOC improve indoor air quality and also offer low odour, excellent durability and a washable finish.
Check paint labelling for the following:
- To be low VOC the paint should consist of <50 grams per litre (g/l) of VOC
- To be zero VOC the paint should consist of <5 g/l of VOC
- Solid content usually ranges from 25-45%. Higher solid percentages mean less VOC’s.
One point I thought worth noting when in the planning stage is to be colour conscious as colour has an effect on energy usage. A dark room may require more artificial light and increased energy to cool it in summer. Instead of painting, maybe consider leaving some surfaces showing their timber finish which can be coated with natural oils or beeswax.
The next question is – where can I find eco friendly paints in New Zealand? Here’s some options:
Biopaints are a Nelson based, New Zealand owned company who offer paints with natural ingredients including plant oils, waxes, tree resins and china clay. Biopaint products don’t include chlorinated hydrocarbon, fungicides, insecticides, bactericides, xylene, toluene, benzene, formaldehyde, phenol and heavy metals like lead, mercury or copper.
PaintPlus is another New Zealand made company. They are CarboNZero: the manufacturing process and distribution is certified carbon neutral. A world first for a paint manufacturer! The paint is low odour and formulated to avoid heavy metals while the levels of VOC are well below the limits set by legislation and eco label criteria.
So New Zealand offers some great alternatives to conventional paints – give them a go!
Image from: http://www.readersdigest.co.nz/eco-friendly-paint
Image from: http://www.biopaints.co.nz/interior/
January 24th, 2013 by Admin
With summer here DIY and home improvements are often on a homeowners ‘to do’ list. It’s certainly been on mine which is why I got to thinking about paint and discovered Resene’s PaintWise recycling scheme.
Resene PaintWise Recycling Scheme
It seems lots of us do DIY with more than six litres of household paint sold each year, per person in New Zealand. That’s a lot of paint!
The PaintWise scheme is Government accredited and has diverted more than 230,000 litres of paint and 90,000kg of steel buckets from landfill in the last year. Be aware too that significant environmental damage can be caused from washing paint down sewerage and stormwater systems. That’s way it’s vitally important to recycle unused paints, or store properly until you next need it.
Resene’s PaintWise scheme aims to help people responsibly dispose of unwanted paint and paint packaging by allowing anyone with unwanted paint (of any brand) and paint containers to bring them into their nearest Resene ColorShop for recycling. In Canterbury these stores are located at:
- Addington, 351 Selwyn Street, Ph: (03) 338 1312
- Ashburton, 327 Burnett Street, Ph: (03) 307 6510
- Christchurch City, 256 Cashel Street, Ph: (03) 366 7441
- Hornby, 278 Main South Road, Christchurch
- Northwood, Unit E3, Northwood Supa Centre, Main Road North, Christchurch, Ph: (03) 323 4492
- Shirley, 38 Marshland Road, Ph: (03) 385 5082
- Timaru, 8 Elizabeth Street, Ph: (03) 688 4723
- Tower Junction, Unit 8-9 Whiteleigh Ave, Ph: (03) 343 3990
What happens to your paint after you bring it in to a Resene ColourShop? Well, Resene will offer good quality paint to community groups for reuse, recycle packaging materials, send solventborne paints to solvent recovery, find alternative uses for waterborne paints, such as graffiti abatement, and dispose of the rest. When you drop off your paint make sure it’s in the original container and well sealed. Note: automotive and marine paints won’t be accepted.
Paint containers ready for recycling
The PaintWise programme is managed by the Resene Foundation, a charitable trust underwritten by Resene. It is funded by Resene through a 15c levy (per litre) on retail purchases of paint plus a levy on returns of non-Resene branded paint ($1 per 4L can or smaller, $2.50 per 10L pail or larger).
Do you belong to a non-profit community group who could use some donated paint? Here’s the link to apply. Resene have large amounts of grey paint suitable for covering graffiti, available in volumes of 10L or more. It is currently supplied free of charge around the country. If you interested email:
So either store away your paint for the next time you might need it or head to a Resene ColourShop to get your paint recycled. Let’s keep our paint and its containers out of landfill!
Image from: http://www.resene.co.nz/comn/envissue/paintwise_hints.htm
Image from: http://www.resene.co.nz/paintwise.htm
January 14th, 2013 by Admin
So continuing with the summer feel and last week’s blog on water quality, I thought I’d provide some more info on Canterbury water activities: lake and river quality, boating and lifejacket guidelines and beach cams.
The Ecan website is a one stop shop with regards to finding out this type of info. What I discovered when looking at the website is that Ecan have a Facebook page, Canterbury Recreational Water Quality, which provides news and updates on swimming areas. As well, the Ecan website provides a map indicating the water quality of various locations in Canterbury.
Wanting lake and river info? Ecan provide river warnings for toxic algae here as well as on the Facebook mentioned above. While lake warnings are here. I noted though the lake warnings page hasn’t been updated since August 2012.
Now armed with your water quality info, the sun in the sky, you’ve decided on a particular beach to enjoy, why not first check it out on a beach cam to double check conditions before you jump in the car. Thanks to beach cams like this one you will see exactly what the waves are doing and if the conditions are to your liking. This sort of beach cam is great for both surfers and swimmers.
So for you recreational boaters out there, Ecan provides boating rules/guidelines for: Avon-Heathcote Estuary, Kaikoura Harbour, Lake Benmore, Lake Aviemore and Lake Waitaki, Lake Coleridge, Lake Hood, Lake Opuha, Lake Ruataniwha, Lake Tekapo, Lyttelton and Akaroa Harbours, Motunau River, Lake Ellesmere, Timaru Harbour and Waimakariri River.
Don’t forget to wear your lifejacket. No excuses! Here’s some general tips on lifejackets:
- Lifejackets and vests must meet New Zealand Standard 5823: 2005
- Children’s lifejackets are for a body weight of 12kg to 25kg and must have a crotch strap
- Crotch straps on adult lifejackets give additional fit and safety (preventing the life jacket from riding up in rough water)
- When storing your lifejacket keep it dry and clean and out of direct sunlight.
- Before each use, check your lifejacket is in good condition and still fits.
Have a blast on the water and be safe; check conditions and always wear a lifejacket.
Image from: http://ecan.govt.nz/pages/home.aspx
January 11th, 2013 by Admin
Yay its summer, time to go to the beach for a swim or a paddle. For Cantabrians it’s good news. After previous concerns about water quality and whether our beaches were safe to swim in since the quakes, Canterbury beaches have been given the ‘all clear’. The latest Ministry for the Environment recreational water quality report says New Brighton, Sumner and Waimairi are rated “good”, or satisfactory for swimming in most of the time. The best beaches are Taylors Mistake, Spencerville, Woodend and Waikuku which rated “very good”.
School kids picking up rubbish at Waimairi Beach
Beach clean ups, like the recent one at Waimairi pictured above, have a profoundly positive effect on our beaches, particularly for the fish and bird life who call our coastlines home.
One organisation focussed on cleaning up New Zealand beaches is Sustainable Coastlines created by Sam Judd and James Bailey. The pair were motivated to start up the organisation after seeing first hand the impact rubbish had on marine life during a trip to the Galapagos Islands.
Since 2008 Sustainable Coastlines has organised volunteers to remove rubbish from coastlines around New Zealand and the Pacific, raising awareness about the challenges our marine environments face and giving people easy solutions for looking after our beaches.
One of their projects, Love your Coast, involved 5,500 people and resulted in tonnes of rubbish being removed from Kiwi beaches along with creating a free event planning tool to guide people running their own coastal clean-up. Such an event is a great idea for schools as it enables kids to gain first hand knowledge of the impact rubbish has on the environment and ways in which we can reduce this.
Sustainable Coastlines campaign "What goes around comes around"
One particular Sustainable Coastlines campaign “What goes around comes around” beautifully illustrates the effect rubbish has on our marine life and how it affects what food we eat. The graphic above shows the cycle of pollution. When we litter it has a massive impact on ocean life with litter flowing through our drains out to sea, polluting waterways and ultimately affecting our seafood. Over time ocean waves and the sun break plastic into smaller pieces which float in the sea, accumulating chemicals. For sea life these fragments of litter look yummy and therefore get eaten, thus entering the food chain and polluting our seafood. In summary; we’re eating our own rubbish!
So let’s be vigilant about putting our rubbish in bins only or when we’re at the beach, take your rubbish home. That way you’ll get the maximum enjoyment out your summer and your local beach!
Image from: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/7719669/Teens-clean-up-Waimairi-Beach
Image from: http://www.sustainablecoastlines.org/Kia_Ora/Welcome___Projects_to_sustain_and_protect_our_coastlines/Entries/2012/10/8_What_goes_around_comes_around.html
December 21st, 2012 by Admin
SIFT hosted a function at the BNZ Riccarton Business Hub to launch its 2011/2012 Annual Report last week in Christchurch. The event attracted a good cross section of stakeholders from the waste sector whose focus is on waste minimisation. The function provided guests with an opportunity to check out the report first hand. Chair, Darren Patterson and General Manager, Chris Pickrill talked briefly about the Trust’s activity over the 2011-12 year and its plans for the future before Trustees made the most of a great networking opportunity with those attending.
General Manager, Chris Pickrill and Chair, Darren Patterson talk to function guests
The 2011/2012 Annual Report is available on line. The report explains SIFT’s continued commitment to providing loans and equity investments in projects that will create a greater ability to positively impact future waste minimisation. The report also explains how SIFT used the 2011/12 post earthquake recovery year to review its future direction particularly with respect to its own financial sustainability while advancing three key equity investments designed to reduce current levels of waste to landfill. More detail can be found in the Chair’s Report and the Key SIFT projects section.
If you would like to read more click here to download a PDF copy of the 2011/2012 Annual Report.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all!
December 14th, 2012 by Admin
So Christmas is just around the corner. Let’s take a minute to think waste minimisation at a time of the year which is usually about over indulging, not about minimising!
Happy Christmas Everyone!
Here’s some ideas on how to minimise while still having a fun and enjoyable Christmas break:
Tip 1 – Make your own decorations. The kids will love it! Search the internet for ideas.
Tip 2 – Give a Bokashi Bucket or worm farm as a present. Bokashi buckets effortlessly compost almost all kitchen wastes including cooked and uncooked meat and fish.
Tip 3 -Send an e-card instead of a hard copy and if you receive Christmas cards, cut them up and use them as gift tags for next year.
Tip 4 – Don’t waste Christmas dinner. What you don’t eat Christmas day, eat the next day or compost.
Tip 5 – Give rechargeable batteries with battery powered gifts.
Tip 6 – Avoid products that come in excessive or non-recyclable packaging.
Tip 7 – Use reusable shopping bags as opposed to plastic bags.
Tip 8 – Use tap water rather than wasting your money on expensive bottled water.
Tip 9 – Want a treat for the kids? Use Soda Stream rather than buying fizzy bottled drinks. Soda Stream is a more environmentally friendly way to enjoy fizzy drinks. No plastic bottles required!
Image from: http://www.sodastream.co.nz/aboutsodaclub
December 6th, 2012 by Admin
With Christmas just around the corner most of us who enjoy a glass of wine will be stocking up for the festive season. I therefore thought it was a good time to share with you the award winning sustainability practices of two New Zealand wineries Yealand Estate Wines and Villa Maria Estate.
One of Yealand's Beautiful Vineyards
Yealand Estate has taken the grand prize at the International Green Awards winning the ‘Most Sustainable Medium Business’ making Yealand’s the only New Zealand organisation to be recognised globally by the leading sustainability awards. The International Green Awards identify companies who exhibit leadership and innovation in their sustainability approach. Peter Yealands, founder of Yealand Estate, says his goal has always been to produce world-class wines at the same time as becoming a global leader in sustainable production.
To get an understanding of why Yealand’s won this award here’s an insight into their sustainability initiatives:
Yealand’s use of cutting edge technology and insulation has resulted in the winery being three times more energy efficient than the New Zealand wine industry standard. Yealand’s ultimate goal is to be energy self-sufficient, achieving this through the use of wind turbines, solar panels and grape vine prunings for heating and power generation. Grape vine prunings you say? The prunings are baled and seasoned for six months so they burn cleanly.
Yealand's Babydoll Sheep
Yealand’s introduction of Babydoll miniature sheep are another sustainability innovation. The sheep, who stand at two feet tall – too short to reach the fruit, are effective and organic weeders, mowers and fertilisers.
Compost is another innovation by Yealand’s who distribute over 10,000 tonnes of compost around the vineyard. It composition consists of grape skins, stalks and pips, unprocessed lime, seaweed, bark and crushed mussel shells.
Now it’s not only Yealand Estate Wines that’s been in the news. Villa Maria Estate has recently won a sustainability award claiming the big prize at the 2012 NZI National Sustainable Business Network Awards. Sustainable Business Network Chief Executive Rachel Brown said Villa Maria provides a great example of how successful business and leading-edge sustainable practices compliment each other.
So well done to our highly successful, very tasty and sustainable wineries. Let’s put our glasses together and toast their success!
November 29th, 2012 by Admin
Plastic shopping bags, who needs them? No one fashion conscious that’s for sure! With the likes of Trelise Cooper offering stylish reusable bags at an affordable price there’s no excuse. Check out the bags available on her website as well as through Countdown, Woolworths and Foodtown supermarkets. Cooper’s latest range for the supermarkets cost only $4.99 each and are made from jute, a strong, natural plant fibre.
Trelise Cooper Reusable Bags
Why the move away from plastic shopping bags? Well the answer lies in the facts. Plastic bags take between 15 and 1000 years to break down. When you think about that along with the fact us Kiwis use one billion plastic shopping bags every year you can soon understand why plastic bags need to go! Another interesting fact to ponder – plastic bags are not free to us with their cost being added to our grocery bills.
One final point that surprised me, being unaware petroleum was used to make plastic bags, was the amount of petroleum used to make one plastic bag can drive a car 115m!
As we know some big retail chains have stopped providing free plastic bags. The Warehouse being one of them. Lots of positives have resulted from this move – a significant drop in the number of bags used by customers as well as the 10c charge for bags being directly given to community groups. While the aim is zero use of plastic bags at least what money is charged for their use is benefiting the wider community.
Applying a charge to plastic bags is a great deterrent as you’ll see from the graphic below. When The Warehouse compared its plastic bag usage in 2010 to 2008 when it first started charging for bags, 500 tonnes of plastic has avoided being dumped in landfills. That’s an 82% reduction in volume. Well done everyone!
Plastic bag usage by The Warehouse 2008 - 2010
Image from: http://www.m2woman.co.nz/read.php/article/trelise-cooper-eco-bags
Image from: http://www.thewarehouse.co.nz/red/content/homepage/communities-and-environment/planet/plastic-bags;
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